The Lady Red soccer program has progressed year-to-year and gone from strength to strength and that trend should continue in 2009.
Last season the squad accomplished the most important feat that any varsity sport can do and that was to provide an opportunity for scholarships to two of their players.
“Those girls are doing very good,” Lady Red Soccer Head Coach Kellie Roedenbeck said of alums Katy Schrieber and Felicia Sawyers- now both NEO A&M student athletes. “The NEO coach is excited about the enthusiasm they have brought to that team and she wants to start a tradition of pulling people from Grove to go to the NEO team.”
The 2009 Lady Red squad has many good indicators for success.
“We’ve got 27 kids in the program right now,” Roedenbeck said. “We’ve got 15 solid players that can take to the field and know what they are supposed to do. It’s exciting to have that large a number. I don’t think we’ve had that kind of depth before.”
Last season’s leading scorer Blair Thomas suffered a broken ankle at a pre-season tournament and is not expected to return to the team until a couple of weeks after spring break.
“It’s the ankle on her plant foot and not her kicking foot,” Roedenbeck said. “She goes and does pool work with the track team as part of her therapy. She’s disappointed but she’s making good progress with it and she’ll be back in time to see plenty of action.”
Like their Ridgerunner counterparts the Lady Red have a player who is involved both with track and soccer in freshman Sara Nix.
“It’s going well,” Roedenbeck said of Nix’s double duty. “She runs before school and on Wednesday she does her field events. She’s a tremendous athlete and she’ll see a lot of playing time for us this year.”
The Lady Red feature six senior players this season: Ashley Fitzgibbon, Kellea Hampton, Kiersey King, Bailee Tullis, Kamie Sager, and Sophie Smith.
Hampton is the returning starter at goalkeeper although Roedenbeck indicated she might see some time out of the box and on the field.
“Kellea has really improved her foot skills for this year,” said the coach.
Dr. Robert Thomas returns to the team as the lay-coach.
Last season the Lady Red met their team goals and has raised their sights higher for ’09.
“We’re looking to make the playoffs this year,” Roedenbeck said. “We think it is very attainable.”